Today is Hope’s annual Day of Giving.  

The word “philanthropy” is a high-sounding word typically associated with wealthy people giving money to “good causes.” That only scratches the surface.

In its purest form, “philanthropy” means love of humanity. “Philos” means love (think: Philadelphia, the city of brotherly love); “Anthropos” (think: anthropology) means mankind or humanity. A philanthropist is one who acts out of love for mankind.

That – philanthropos – is at the center of what we do at Hope College. We raise money for scholarships out of love for students, current & future, making the opportunity for a college education more affordable and accessible for students & their families.

But we also do more than that. We don’t just offer a high-quality Christian education. We spread hope.

So did the first “philanthropist.” The word philanthropos was first used in Aeschylus’ Prometheus Bound, a Greek myth written 2,500 years ago. In the story, a primitive humanity, living brutish lives in dark caves, aroused the anger of the god Zeus. To prevent Zeus from destroying mankind, the titan Prometheus, out of his philanthropos tropos (“humanity-loving character”), gave humanity two redeeming gifts.

The first gift was fire: enabling not just the ability to cook food and keep warm, but craftmanship, technology, and ultimately, knowledge and civilization. 

The second gift was hope

These gifts go hand-in-hand: with fire – their new abilities – hope is justified. With hope, they can use their abilities to improve the human condition.

Prometheus is a 1934 gilded, cast bronze sculpture by Paul Manship, located above the lower plaza at Rockefeller Center in Manhattan, New York City.

That’s what philanthropists do: give the hope and tools necessary to better the human condition.

That’s Hope College: out of a Christ-like love of mankind, we offer the tools and hope necessary to transform lives.

Through Day of Giving this year, we’re asking you to join us in our philanthropic endeavor. More important than ever due to the economic challenges of the pandemic, scholarship dollars make this transformative Christian education even more accessible and affordable for our students.

To be a philanthropist, you don’t have to be wealthy or influential. All you need is a love for humanity – for these students at Hope – and a heart to give the gift of hope.

Partner with us: hope.edu/give2hope

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